Eritrea withdraws troops from border with former foe Ethiopia

The move comes amid signs of reconciliation between the two African countries, ending two decades of conflict.

Ethiopian army
Once a province of Ethiopia, Eritrea seceded in 1993 after a long independence struggle [Eyob Alemayexu/AP file photo]

Eritrea has withdrawn its troops from the heavily militarised border with Ethiopia as a “gesture of reconciliation”, the pro-government Eritrean Press agency has said.

“It is imperative for all those who care about the long-term stability and economic viability of the region to do everything they can to help the two countries move beyond the senseless war that wrought so much suffering on both people,” the agency said.

Asmara has yet to comment on the report but the move appears to be consistent with recent developments and the restoration of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

On July 9, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed arrived in Eritrea’s capital Asmara to sign a landmark agreement with President Isaias Afwerki, formally ending the “state of war” between their nations.

A week later, Isaias visited Ethiopia to re-open Eritrea’s embassy in Addis Ababa.

The newly appointed reformist Abiy first initiated the peace overtures and restoration of relations in April.

Ethiopia and Eritrea expelled each others’ envoys at the start of the 1998-2000 border war, which killed about 80,000 people.

Once a province of Ethiopia, Eritrea seceded in 1993 after a long independence struggle. A dispute over the demarcation of their shared border triggered the later conflict.

The Horn of Africa nations remained at loggerheads since Ethiopia rejected a United Nations ruling and refused to cede to Eritrea land along the countries’ border following the 1998-2000 war. 

On Wednesday, Ethiopia’s national carrier made its first landing in Asmara after a two-decade military standoff. 

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies